In the recent Gartner® report, Innovation Insight for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms, the analyst firm highlights the benefits and uses of a CNAPP. With the new category being the most recent in a long line of cloud security solutions to enter the market, you might be wondering: do I really need another cloud security tool?

The answer is yes . . . and no.

According to Gartner, “The most significant benefit of a CNAPP approach is better visibility and control of cloud-native application risk.”

What is a Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP)?

A Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) is a comprehensive solution that aims to streamline and simplify cloud security by consolidating various security tools into a single, integrated platform. Rather than relying on multiple disparate solutions, a CNAPP provides organizations with a unified approach to protect their cloud-native applications.

Traditionally, organizations have had to manage several security tools separately, including cloud security posture management (CSPM), cloud workload protection platform (CWPP), Kubernetes security posture management (KSPM), container scanning, and cloud identity and entitlement management (CIEM) solutions. This fragmented approach often leads to complexity, inefficiency, and increased management overhead.

With a CNAPP, organizations can leverage a consolidated platform that brings together all these security capabilities. By integrating these functionalities into a single solution, a CNAPP allows for centralized management, unified visibility, and coordinated security controls across the cloud-native application environment.

Key Capabilities of a CNAPP

A CNAPP usually bundles various features that aid in scanning and safeguarding your cloud infrastructure and services. It can seamlessly merge with your DevOps and DevSecOps pipelines and procedures to bolster cloud security for your software development undertakings.

Although all CNAPP offerings provide tools for securing cloud applications, the features and exact capabilities often vary by provider. Here are some prevalent CNAPP capabilities worth exploring.

  • Cloud Security Posture Management: Detects misconfiguration and compliance violations in your AWS, Azure, or GCP estate (as performed by CSPM tools)
  • Kubernetes Security Posture Management: Detects misconfiguration and compliance violations in Kubernetes (as performed by KSPM tools)
  • Cloud Workload Protection Platform: Detects vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, insecure secret management, and active compromises in cloud workloads, whether they are VMs, containers, or serverless functions (as performed by CWPPs)
  • Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management: Assesses the permissions configuration of your cloud environment against least privilege and other best practices (as performed by CIEM solutions)
  • Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) Scanning: Scans containers and images as early as possible in the application development pipeline for risks such as security vulnerabilities, hardening, insecure secret management, and more.

While the convergence of disparate cloud security tools may seem trivial, the revolution of CNAPPs goes well beyond bundling products together and giving them a sexy name and separate tabs in a dashboard. In fact, organizations should be cautious of offerings that are merely the repackaging of tools into one SKU with no value add. CNAPPs exhibit their real value by intelligently combining data points from different layers in the technology stack to highlight critical security issues instead of just sending thousands of meaningless disconnected alerts.

“By integrating vulnerabilities, context and relationships across the development life cycle, excessive risk can be surfaced, enabling development teams and product owners to focus on remediating the areas of the application that represent the most risk.”
Gartner, Inc., Innovation Insight for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms, Neil MacDonald and Charlie Winckless

August 25, 2021

Benefits of CNAPP

Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPPs) offer a range of benefits to organizations seeking to enhance their cloud security posture. Some of the key benefits of CNAPPs include:

  • Simplified security management: CNAPPs provide a single platform for managing security across cloud infrastructure and services, simplifying security management and reducing the risk of human error.
  • Collaborative approach: Different stakeholders, such as security and risk management teams, DevOps, DevSecOps, IAM, and IT professionals, can collaborate and implement an integrated security approach using CNAPPs.
  • Real-time threat detection: Machine learning algorithms and AI techniques are used by CNAPPs to analyze security events and provide real-time alerts and reports to security teams, enabling them to respond quickly to security threats.
  • Automated security testing and compliance checks: Security testing and compliance checks can be automated through integration with DevOps and DevSecOps pipelines, ensuring that security is built into the software development lifecycle with the help of CNAPPs.
  • Customizable policies and rules: Policies and rules can be customized according to specific business needs and compliance requirements by organizations using CNAPPs.
  • Comprehensive security solution: CNAPPs provide a comprehensive solution that combines automated tools with expert human analysis, enabling organizations to take a holistic approach to cloud security.

Who Should be Leveraging a CNAPP?

Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPPs) provide a simplified and collaborative approach to cloud security that can benefit various stakeholders involved in securing cloud infrastructure and services. These stakeholders may include security and risk management teams, DevOps, DevSecOps, IAM, and IT professionals.

By using a CNAPP, these stakeholders can work together to implement an integrated security approach that governs access, improves cloud security posture, and scales least privilege principles. This can be achieved without impacting application continuity or time-to-market, making CNAPP an ideal solution for organizations that prioritize both security and business agility.

CNAPP: Applying Context to Cloud Security

An enterprise that uses separate CSPM, CWPP, and CIEM tools is likely to have visibility into hundreds of thousands of vulnerabilities, thousands of excessive permissions alerts, and hundreds of exposed services – without any indication of which issues are critical and require immediate attention.

A key benefit of leading CNAPPs is context. A CNAPP looks at risk across the technology stack, including cloud configuration, workload, and identity, connecting the dots to concrete attack vectors. Instead of alerting on hundreds of thousands of vulnerabilities, permissions alerts, and exposed services, a CNAPP can prioritize the one critical attack vector that poses the most significant risk to your business. The result is a higher level of understanding that cannot be achieved with traditional standalone cloud security tools.

Bottom line: With a CNAPP, you can get more functionality with fewer cloud security tools – and finally address the complexity and cost of managing disparate tools.

Gartner recommends companies to: “Evaluate emerging CNAPP offerings as contracts for CSPM and CWPP expire, and use this opportunity to reduce complexity and consolidate vendors.”

Orca Security: A Pioneer and Leader in the Agentless CNAPP Market

Orca’s founders had a mission: to simplify cloud security by delivering a fully integrated platform that can detect and prioritize every important security risk in an enterprise cloud estate while being as easy to install and maintain as a smartphone app. Gartner recognizes Orca as a representative provider for CNAPP and recently named Orca Security a 2021 Gartner Cool Vendor.

Using our proprietary SideScanning™ technology, Orca provides 100% coverage, 100% visibility, 100% of the time, without the gaps in coverage, organizational friction, alert fatigue, and high operational costs of existing vulnerability management, CWPP, and CSPM solutions. Orca leverages its complete visibility of the AWS, Azure, and GCP cloud estate to take a holistic approach to risk – accounting for the accessibility and business impact of a security issue, not only its severity. As a result, the Orca Platform separates the 1% of alerts that demand immediate action from the 99% that don’t, enabling security teams to avoid alert fatigue and ensure that critical alerts are not missed.

A CNAPP like Orca solves the problems of traditional cloud security solutions and finally gives security teams the visibility and coverage they’ve needed from day one in the cloud. With Orca, maintaining a secure and compliant cloud estate is now easier than ever before.

Want to learn more on how you can improve your cloud security posture with the Orca Cloud Security Platform? Check out our case studies to see how Orca benefits customers, watch a demo to see it in action, or sign up for a free, no-obligation risk assessment today.

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